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Pinellas County library director resigns

Executive director Mary Brown will step down at the end of September.

Executive director Mary Brown will step down at the end of September.

Mary Brown, the longtime executive director of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, is stepping down at the end of September. Her assistant, Paula Godfrey, is also leaving.

The departures could leave the library cooperative, which oversees 15 public libraries across the county, leaderless in the middle of a transition to a new governance structure.

The organization's nine-member governing board is being overhauled as part of a new agreement between county and city officials. Approved by the commission Tuesday, it calls for the current board — largely made of volunteers — to be replaced with two commission appointees, four city managers and three county staffers.

The board's current chairwoman, Judith Burr, said members are united in their opposition to the changes. All will lose their positions Sept. 30, though some could be re-appointed.

"We feel that a community-based board is really responsive to the needs of the community, so we favor the existing board structure," she said.

In a letter sent to commissioners Monday, Burr wrote that the commission and the county administrator had shown "a complete lack of respect" for the cooperative's board.

Asked to respond to Burr's letter, Assistant County Administrator Mark Woodard told the commission Tuesday that "change is difficult."

Brown could not be reached for comment and county officials did not return calls. Minutes from the library cooperative's July meeting suggest Brown resigned over the board's "new goals and direction."

Pinellas County library director resigns 09/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:14am]
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